Jack Mercy was a mean s.o.b. and everyone in Montana knew it. Even in death he ruthlessly manipulated his estranged daughters. In order to inherit a ranch worth 20 million dollars, all three sisters must live on the ranch together for one year.

Jack married three times, with a daughter resulting from each union. Only the youngest, Willa, has ever lived with her father on Mercy Ranch.

Tess Mercy, the oldest, is a screenwriter used to the dog-eat-dog world of Hollywood. Living on a remote ranch for a year isn't high on her wish list, but she feels entitled to her share.

Lily Mercy is running from a dangerous ex-husband. The year at Mercy Ranch sounds like a heaven-sent opportunity to escape. With the help of Willa's handsome and gentle half-brother, Adam, Lily's shattered self-confidence is slowly eased.

For Willa, her father's will is just one more example of his lack of love and trust in her abilities. Being forced to share the ranch with two outsiders is painful, but Willa is infuriated over the provision that has fellow rancher Ben McKinnon overseeing her work.

The uneasy peace settling over the ranch is shattered when a series of animal mutilations turns into murder. Who is the main target? The sisters find that when danger threatens, bonds of blood can quickly solidify.

MONTANA SKY marks the incomparable Nora Roberts' 100th novel. This incredible storyteller just gets better with each book. She is one in a million. (March, 448pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith